February 21st, 2009


Some good news and a few reminders

First of all, we want to announce that the Media Action Network for Asian Americans has spoken out publicly against the casting of The Last Airbender. They've posted an open letter to the producers on their site, offering to help Paramount Pictures steer this project in the right direction. From that letter:

The Asian American community, and the movie-going public at large, is used to seeing Asian men depicted as villains and rarely get the opportunity to see Asian heroes they can get behind and cheer for. This is also an historic opportunity to give Asian American actors a chance to shine in a big-budget film franchise which would bolster their careers for future projects. You will get deserved credit for launching those careers and can break down barriers by understanding that the audience that loved the television series is ready (and expects) to see Asian Americans playing those characters on the big screen.

You can read the letter in full here, and their ongoing blog on this and other issues can be read here. We're thrilled that the MANAA has decided to become involved in this issue, and we look forward to seeing where that involvement may lead.

And of course, the support of all of you continues to be an incredible thing to watch! By all reports, the February 7th protest in Philadelphia went very well! Ten people were able to make it and maintained a presence all day, distributing fliers and answering questions about the controversy. We're very thankful to all of them and incredibly proud -- they got up early on a cold Saturday, spent all afternoon talking to strangers about a controversial topic, and conducted themselves with professionalism and poise. They also quite clearly got the attention of those running the casting call -- a production assistant was sent out with a video camera to film the protesters. djinnj did a very nice writeup which you can read here, along with replies by other supporters who were able to attend. Thank you so much to everyone who was able to make it!

However, we would like to take a moment to mention that as fantastic as it is that ten people were able to come, nearly one hundred had previously RSVPd via Facebook or on this journal. This highlights how every single person is important and every individual makes a difference. Please don't assume that someone else will act for you -- we all have to work together and stay involved!

Finally, we want to remind all of you that as things stand, The Last Airbender is scheduled to begin filming in mid-March. Your support and your involvement are therefore more important than ever! We'll be updating this journal again early next week with more suggestions for what you can do, but in the meantime -- keep writing, keep talking, keep the conversation going.